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Affiliate Marketing Ultimate guide - Blogging For Passive Income

Affiliate Marketing Ultimate guide

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you do decide to use these links, thank you so much for your support! I recommend these products only because I have experience with them and use them for my own business.

Have you ever read any blog income report of successful bloggers or influencers to find out how do they make money?

I did that when I started blogging for the first time.

Then you must be definitely noticed that they earn a good percentage of their income from affiliate marketing.

Now you may have many questions in your mind like:

  • What is this so called affiliate marketing?
  • How does it work?
  • How to make money from affiliate marketing?
  • How much money can I earn from affiliate marketing?

In this post I am going to share with you what is affiliate marketing, how to start with it and tips to make money by promoting affiliate products.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Affiliate Marketing?
  2. Why Should You Learn Affiliate marketing as a blogger?
  3. Affiliate Marketing Process explained
  4. What is an affiliate Link and how are affiliate links tracked?
  5. How do affiliate commissions work?
  6. My 5 – step process to get started with affiliate marketing
  7. The Bottom Line on Affiliate Marketing

What is Affiliate marketing?

It is a process of earning a commission through promoting and selling a company or individual’s product.

In simple words, you refer a product you like to your reader and earn a commission when your reader purchase it through your link.

This is a win – win for

You – because you earned a commission

Reader – learned about the product from you and invested on it

The company – they have a new sale

Why Should You Learn Affiliate marketing as a blogger?

Affiliate marketing is the most simple and lucrative way of making passive income.

As per my opinion, here are the three compelling reasons for bloggers to start affiliate marketing:

  • You can monetize your blog from the first day. You can profit from your blog sooner than you would if you created your own products from scratch.
  • You can learn what types of products your audience is demanding for.  It helps in reducing the risk of your future product launch.
  • You can get your readers used to the idea of buying from you — and increase their level of trust (as long as you pick the right products and services to sell).

But that’s not all. There are additional benefits to affiliate marketing as well:

  • It’s low-effort and low-risk Blog monetization method. While affiliate marketing isn’t exactly passive income, it doesn’t require a significant time or money investment on your part.
  • It’s easy to implement. You just share a link with your readers and that’s it. You don’t have to worry about tracking sales, providing customer service, setting up payments, or anything else. All that support is handled by the merchant.
  • Your earning potential is unlimited! Meaning you do the work once and can continue to make commissions on the product for years.
  • You have full control over what kind of products you want to promote.
  • You’re selling a product that is already popular in the market, therefore proven as sellable.
  • You can track the sale, so it is easy to improvise the strategy.
  •  No minimum page views required to join.

Do I need a blog for affiliate marketing?

While you don’t absolutely need a blog for affiliate marketing, having a blog is by far one of the easiest and most profitable ways to make money from affiliate marketing. Without a blog, you might have trouble getting approved for some affiliate programs as well.

If you don’t already have your own blog, make sure check out my step-by-step guide to starting one in less than an hour. Starting a blog is easy and you can set up your own site for less than $4 a month! Here is my full tutorial on how you can set up your blog in 20 minutes.

How do affiliate commissions work?

There are three ways you can earn your commissions:

  • Percentage of the Sale: This is when you receive a set percentage of the sale of the product. Before you join the affiliate program, it will tell you the percentage amount. You’ll find that percentages will be higher for digital products (around 25% – 50%) as opposed to physical products (around 4% – 8%).
  • Commission Per Lead: This is where you get paid a fixed amount when the company or product you’re promoting acquires your customer as a new lead. That is, signing up for an account but didn’t necessarily purchase. Eg:- Shareasale pays you $1 for every lead you refer that signs up to the company.
  • A Fixed Amount: This is where you will receive a set commission regardless of how much the product costs. This agreement is made in the beginning when you join the program, and is usually quite a good amount. i.e Siteground offers $50 commission on any hosting plan that’s purchased through your link.

What is an affiliate Link and how are affiliate links tracked?

An affiliate link is the unique Link the merchant give to its affiliates. It will have a long tag at the end of each link that includes your affiliate ID.

Example link that directs to the merchant’s home page

https://merchantsite.com/dap/a/?a=1199

Example link to another page on the merchant’s site

https://merchantsite.com/dap/a/?a=1199&p=merchantsite.com/page.html

Whenever you post about the product, you’ll use this trackable link.

To not get penalized from google, you need to make sure your affiliate links follow the “no follow” rule. I use a WordPress Plugin called Pretty Links to shorten my links and also make it “no follow”.

Screenshot.

I recommend you create a spreadsheet to organize your affiliate links.

Click here to get my simple affiliate tracking spreadsheet. (Create a button)

How are affiliate links tracked?

Any time someone clicks on your affiliate link, the action is stored by a “cookie” in that user’s browser. An affiliate cookie is the information that gets transferred when someone clicks your affiliate link. If the customer purchases the product, the information transferred is your unique ID which ensures you get the commission for that purchase.

There is a set duration for the an affiliate cookie, meaning after a certain amount of hours, days weeks or months, the cookie will no longer be valid. The cookie duration is completely dependent on each program and product, make sure you find out what it is when you sign up.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing: My 5 step process to start and make $1000/month

Before jumping into the process, let me tell you the key point you need to understand in order to become a successful affiliate marketer.

“You’re earning a commission in exchange for giving readers valuable information and insights on products or services they were already thinking about buying”

In other words, your audience are already buying things. They are already going to make a purchase whether or not you give them any advice.

So, the question here is, could you help them make a smarter decision than they could do alone?

Because that’s where you add value. You earn a commission in exchange for helping people make smarter decisions. You use your blog and other form of contents to systemize that process, providing valuable advice to thousands and thousands of people.

Here’s a step-by-step process for doing exactly that.

Step 1: Identify What Your Audience is already purchasing

The first step to become a good affiliate marketer is to have the clear idea about your ideal audience and their requirement.

Who are your audience? And what types of products and services is your audience already buying?

For example, this blog, Blogging for Passive Income – my audience are people who want to start a blog and make income on autopilot. They need WordPress hosting, themes, and plugins to create their site, Best Email Marketing Software, Pinterest Automation Software etc… So, I carefully research all the products in those categories and make recommendations.

Hope you already have a clear picture about your audience. Now let us see how you can figure out what products are they already buying or interested to buy.

You can do it in Three ways.

1 . Simply guessing – Initially, you might not know exactly what products to promote, but if you think about it for a bit, you can probably guess the major categories.

For example, what do moms of toddlers spend a lot of money on?

My guess: child care, cleaning supplies, snacks, gas, toys, learning/activity books & tools.

2.  Ask your audience – You can ask your audience by emailing them or creating a Facebook poll.

3. Spy on similar Blogs – Check other blogs in your niche to see what affiliate programs they’re promoting. Check their sidebar, blog posts, and emails.

Step 2: Choose a Product to Promote as an Affiliate

As an ethical blogger, you will have to choose products on the basis of one of the below two approaches.

  • Choose products that you’ve used and liked, that have affiliate programs and that are a good fit for your audience, or
  • Choose products you can get access to in order to evaluate them, either by buying them outright or getting a free sample or trial.

No matter which approach you take, invest time and money into researching the best products for your audience.

Here are your two main options (the best option listed first).

Option #1: Promote Products You Already Know and Love

This is the most common and easiest way bloggers get started with affiliate sales.

Choose those programs that you’ve already used yourself, had a good experience with, thoroughly tested and feel good recommending. You should be fairly confident that others will get the same results you did (or better), as long as they do the work.

à Create a spreadsheet and fill it with the products, services and courses you already have experience with. You might have a list of a dozen or more.

à Then run your product list through this Legitimate Affiliate Product checklist:

  • You’ve previewed the product so you know its quality (given, in this case).
  • They have a solid refund policy that you trust they’ll honor.
  • They provide good customer support (and you’ve tested it).
  • You have a good story to share about your experience with the product.
  • The offer fits your audience’s needs and won’t abuse the trust you’ve built with them.

The products that tick all the checkboxes are your best opportunities for affiliate income. As time goes on, add as many of these products to your mix as you like.

à Now simply check to see if the merchant has an affiliate program (some won’t but you’ll probably be surprised at how many do). Most of the sites will have. Check for “Affiliate Program” or “Partner Program” or “Become a partner”.

à For those which doesn’t have an affiliate program on the site, do a Google search for “affiliate program” + [product name], or simply email the merchant and ask.

By now you should have a list of products you can promote. Apply to join the affiliate program.

For a beginner, his first option may be enough to get you started.

However, most bloggers will want to try the next one, too.

(And you’ll have to explore the second option if you don’t have an existing product you love that is also a great match for your audience and offers an affiliate program.)

Option #2: Find Products via an Affiliate Network

If you don’t have any direct experience with or knowledge of products in your niche that could help your readers, you can often find good affiliate products on affiliate networks.

But be careful while choosing products this way. This method requires you to invest time into research and money into purchasing products to try out.

That’s because there’s less trust and prior knowledge involved from the outset. You have to do your due diligence to protect your reputation and the credibility you’ve built with your readers.

Some of the most popular and reliable affiliate networks are:

  • ShareASale: affiliate programs including Tailwind and Etsy ($50 minimum payout)
  • Awin: affiliate programs including Etsy and Godaddy ($20 minimum payout)
  • Ultimate Bundles : here are bundles for a variety of niches, including fitness, blogging, entrepreneurship, healthy living, and even travel (you get 40% commission)
  • Amazon Affiliates: wide selections for all sorts of products ($10 minimum payout)
  • Creative Market: affiliate program for digital products including themes and graphics ($20 minimum payout)

Click to down load a list of 400+ affiliate programs to join

Step 3: Join the affiliate program and get yourself set up as an Affiliate

Whether you work directly with a merchant or through a network, you’ll have to apply and get approved. You also have to provide certain information so that you can be paid.

At a minimum you’ll need to provide:

  • Your personal/business contact information reporting purposes.
  • Tax related information
  • Your bank account/PayPal ID where commissions will be sent.

In turn, the merchant must provide you with:

  • An affiliate link with your unique affiliate ID. Whenever you post about the product, you’ll use this trackable link. It will have a long tag at the end of each link that includes your affiliate ID.
  • Tips and useful assets for marketing the product (often found in a welcome guide or on the affiliate reporting site). These could include:
  • An affiliate guide as well as instructions on how to use the platform and summary of policies such as payment.
  • Marketing tools like banners and sidebar graphics.
  • Sample email/webpage swipe copy.
  • Ongoing communications from the merchant about promotions, new products, etc.
  • If you use a network like Amazon, you’ll get your own link for each of the specific products you promote.

Be sure to check your specific network’s help or support pages for more information.

I recommend you to find a way to organize your affiliate products information.

I use a spreadsheet to keep a track of all my affiliate programs and planning monthly goals and promotional strategies.

Click here to get my simple affiliate tracking spreadsheet. (Create a button)

Step 4: Start Promoting Your Chosen Affiliate Products

At the end of the day, all your hard work finding, testing and evaluating products only pays off if somebody takes your advice and make the purchase.

For that to happen, you need to put your recommendation in front of your audience. Especially, you need to make your recommendation trustworthy.

This is where a lot of affiliate marketers fails. They think displaying some banners up on their blog that link to affiliate products is all they need to do.

Does that look trustworthy to you? Nowhere close, right?

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Create A resource Page
  • Create blog posts and promote it
  • Email your subscribers
  • Promote On Pinterest
  • Promote on Social Media
  • Run exclusive Live events

1 | Create A resource Page

This is a great way to showcase your affiliate products.

My own resource page is a good example – Blogging for Passive Income Resource Page

Create a page and list down the tools, equipment and learning resources you use to run your business. I organized them according to the category. It also explains why those products would be helpful.

I also made sure to include any special discount available for using my affiliate links.

2 | Create custom Blog Post and promote it

Custom content strategies will be the backbone of your affiliate promotional efforts. Use as many of the following different strategies as make sense for your blog and audience.

1 . Write a “How-to” or Tutorial Post

Some of my highest-converting affiliate posts are in the style of a how-to guide. You can write a definitive, comprehensive post on your site to educate your readers and “soft sell” your products.

People searching for how-to guides and tutorials want to learn how to do something, and they are usually ready to take action.  You can include screenshots and videos to make it more helpful to your audience.

Whatever the topic, make sure that it’s evergreen content — information that’s likely to be useful and valuable for years to come.

2. Write a Review Post

You can write detailed reviews of products, courses, books or software products you promote as an affiliate.

Review posts also do very well because people searching for them are typically already interested in buying a product or service and are just one step away from actually making the purchase.

If you write a review post for a product, give an honest review. Share Your Personal Experience. Tell about your initial expectations, how they were met, your results with the product, and if there’s anything you not liked etc. Also you show them Proof.

Write a Round-Up Post/List post

If you are writing a roundup post or list post, I suggest you go on a theme basis.

The most popular version of this would be gift guides centered on special occasions and holidays.

Eg: – 10 best Christmas gift you can give to your blogger spouse.

Comparisons Post

When people decide to buy something, majority of them do a research to find out similar product and do a comparison before buying. Capitalize on that by comparing multiple products within the same category, in either digital or physical product categories.

You can even add a visual comparison charts to help people decide at a glance which product is right for them.

Example posts:

Thrive Landing Pages vs Elementor Pro. Which one to buy?

Why I switched from Mailchimp to ConvertKit?

Case Studies

Did you get an outstanding results or experience a transformation while using the product? Use that details and create a case study to promote your affiliate product.

You can also ask other people who got the similar result to write a guest post on your blog. Many people will be thrilled to share their story and be featured on your site.

Example Posts:

How I gained 1000 email subscribers in one month with MailerLite.

3 | Email your subscribers

Your email subscriber list is a gold mine. If you use the right strategy, you can make a good amount of money by promoting your affiliate programs.

Here are few ideas to promote products through emails.

  • Promote your offers indirectly by sending emails linking to your free content (blog posts, reviews, etc.).
  • Use P.S. or signature link in your regular emails to promote low-priced product like an ebook, digital download or service.
  • For high ticket courses, masterminds or services, you might do something closer to an official launch once per year with softer launches once per quarter Write a series of emails related to affiliate product. And of course, always follow your merchants’ lead. For example, if they run major launches twice a year, you can participate in those and take advantage of the natural momentum these launches often create.
  • Seasonal promotional emails (Eg:-Black Friday deals)

How to create a custom email sequence?

Custom email sequences are especially effective for your core products. You’ll usually send out a series of five to seven emails spread out over a time frame spanning a week or two.

These can be run in parallel with your normal blog emails or you can “pause” your regular content for the duration of the sequence.

If you don’t know how to create a sales sequence, grab the Smart Sales Sequences template. This Seven-day sales sequence template is ready for you to fill in the blanks and start using to promote affiliate product or your own product.

4. Promote on Pinterest

At this moment, using affiliate links on Pinterest is allowed.

You can promote affiliate link directly through Pinterest.

For example, if you are promoting an e-book, you can either use a promotion image given by the E-book creator or create an image by yourself and upload it to Pinterest.

And when you promote affiliate link directly on Pinterest, follow these two other simple rules:

  • Don’t use short links.
  • Disclose that the link is an affiliate link
  • Include a keyword rich description and don’t forget to include relevant hash tags.

5. Promote on Facebook

If you’ve ever wondered, “Can I put affiliate links on Facebook?”, I have good news for you. Yes, you can.

Here are some places on Facebook you can post affiliate products:

a) Your Facebook profile

b) Your Facebook page

c) Your Facebook group

d) Other Facebook groups

While promoting on Facebook, don’t forget to include affiliate disclaimer.

6. Do Exclusive Live Events

You can run live events to introduce your audience to your products.

Webinars are the most popular way to do this, and you can host them on your own or as a joint venture with the merchant. (Usually, though, merchants will only participate if you can attract a certain number of attendees.)

You can also do a Facebook Live or Youtube live for promoting your affiliate product.

Comply with Legal Requirements (and Best Practices)

Make sure you follow the law of the country where you are located. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you let people know you’ll earn a commission.

But even if it isn’t required by law where you’re located, I recommend it. It’s just good business.

Don’t be afraid to be transparent. People will appreciate your honesty and want to support you to repay you for making their lives better.

So wherever you share an affiliate link, whether it’s in blog posts, web pages, or emails, let your readers know that you stand to earn a small commission if they buy through you — and if they choose not to use your link, no worries.

It’s also a good idea to create an Affiliate Disclaimer page on your website.

Here’s an example of our own disclaimer page at Blogging for passive Income.

Step 5: Track your analytics

Whichever options you choose for promoting your affiliate products, you’ll want to know which are producing the best results.

In order to increase the amount of money you make from affiliate programs, you need to keep track of what works and doesn’t work with your readers.

Three ways you can do this

  • Utilize the stats provided by your affiliate companies. It is extremely useful to know how many people click on a link and complete the purchase, and how many people click on it and leave your site.
  • Use the WordPress Plugin Pretty Link for this. You can create clean, easy to use and remember links plus get analytics so you can see exactly where people are coming from and what strategies are working best for you.
  • You can also Use a tool Like ClickMeter to track your links and conversion rate accurately.

Conclusion

That dream you’ve had of making money while you sleep isn’t just a silly fantasy. It’s a totally achievable reality.

The combination of affiliate marketing and blogging is a great way to make money by telling others about products you love.

When we love something, we rave about it. And of course, we share our opinion with our friends. They take your opinion and buy that product. That’s how affiliate marketing works.

If you don’t have a blog yet, I have written a step by step tutorial on how to get started with your profitable blog.

What are your strategies for making money with affiliate programs? Comment below.

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